Know Your Status: Self-Testing for HIV, Order Online Pick Up at Convenience Store

Whether you’re straight, gay, or something in between, knowing your HIV status is important so that we can all work towards reducing HIV infections in Taiwan and around the world. Given that many people are hesitant to visit hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has launched a system for ordering HIV self-testing kits which can be delivered to convenience stores across Taiwan.

The steps are pretty simple. First visit this website (a page of the CDC website):

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If you want to pay in cash, you can choose the option on the left for $245NT, and for people who register with their website, they offer vouchers.

As supplies are limited, you can get one per month. If you get tested elsewhere, leave these for people who are unlikely to get tested elsewhere or are in high-risk groups.

You’ll be prompted to enter your phone number (手機號碼) and choose a 7-11, FamilyMart or OK Mart branch near you (Click 選擇門市 and remember to turn off your popup blocker):

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After you confirm, you’ll be asked to fill in a questionnaire:

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Then it asks you where you lived before the age of 18 and you’re done, you just have to confirm the order a few times.

You’ll receive an order number via email and you can check the status of your order by entering your phone number, order number and email address.

How to use the test:

Here’s a quick video on how you go about using the test kit:

(My favourite line is “Don’t drink the liquid in the test-tube” by the way.)

If you don’t manage to register while stocks last, there are plenty of ways to get tested in Taiwan, whether anonymously or not, including visiting here, using a vending machine (spotted throughout the city) or visiting a hospital.

There is also free anonymous testing (blood tests – takes a week or two to get the results) held at the gay health center and at Mudan (bar in the Red House drinking area in Ximen) in Taipei as follows:

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May 13 Gay Health Center, 5F, No. 100 Kunming Street, Wanhua District, Taipei (臺北市萬華區昆明街100號5樓) 18:10 – 21:10

May 15 Mudan (bar at the Red House drinking area in Ximen) 19:00 – 22:00

May 16 Mudan (bar at the Red House drinking area in Ximen) 19:00 – 22:00

May 20 Gay Health Center, 5F, No. 100 Kunming Street, Wanhua District, Taipei (臺北市萬華區昆明街100號5樓) 18:00 – 20:20

May 22 Mudan (bar at the Red House drinking area in Ximen) 19:00 – 22:00

May 23 Mudan (bar at the Red House drinking area in Ximen) 19:00 – 22:00

May 27 Gay Health Center, 5F, No. 100 Kunming Street, Wanhua District, Taipei (臺北市萬華區昆明街100號5樓) 18:00 – 20:20

May 29 Mudan (bar at the Red House drinking area in Ximen) 19:00 – 22:00

May 30 Mudan (bar at the Red House drinking area in Ximen) 19:00 – 22:00

If the result turns out positive, there are several avenues to pursue treatment. Dr. Stephane Ku (顧文瑋) does consultations at Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Wednesday evenings (感染科), where you can get tested, explore the possibility of going on prep or get treatment.

Review of ‘Revisiting the White Bridge’ by Roan Ching-yue 書評:阮慶岳的《重見白橋》

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*Contains spoilers*

Roan Ching-yue is an architecture professor in Taiwan and has written several stories featuring gay themes, including ‘The Pretty Boy from Hanoi‘ and ‘The Con Man‘ (click through for my translation), both featured in the short story collection City of Tears (《哭泣哭泣城》), this was his first long-form novel and it was published in 2002.

We meet the protagonist of this novel at a time of crisis. An only child, he meets a man resembling his dad who claims to be his brother by the same mother and father. Despite the questions that surround the man’s sudden appearance in his life, he accepts him as a brother pending further inquiry. It’s at this time that he finds out that his company is moving the majority of its employees to China, so he quits and fails to find another job, so has a larger amount of free time. Over this period he discovers that his “brother” is gay and then we are introduced to the brother’s perspective, with a chronicle of his childhood growing up in Australia and his wild sex life.

The glimpses we get of the brother’s life, show him to be a lot more carefree than the protagonist, however, one of the main stories he recounts involved an attempt to shame him:

[My translation] I was once at a motel in Los Angeles and, bored, so I decided to pleasure myself. I stuffed the cap of a bottle of shaving cream into my ass. As I was unable to get it out again, I had to go three days without moving my bowels. I gradually lost my appetite and my face turned a shade of reddish purple. The doctor at the emergency room knew, of course, what I’d done, but he insisted on forcing me to recount all the gory details of what I’d gotten up to that night in the motel room in front of a group of strangers comprised of interns and nurses. He made me lie squatting on the bed like a dog, while he and his female assistant tried in vain to take it out, threatening that if I didn’t cooperate as best I could, he would have to cut my anus open with a knife. I calmly asked him: How long would the wound take to heal if you cut it open? He said: Maybe a lifetime, maybe you’d never be able to use it again for anything but shitting.

I accepted him shaming me through the entire process and at the moment when he finally retrieved the plastic cap, I sprayed the shit I had accumulated over several days out of my elevated ass all over him and his assistant just as the cap slid out.

This was shame’s parasitic twin, revenge.  [pg. 138]

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